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The Fifth Quarter: Week 7 Rewind

Missouri v Georgia Getty Images

As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.

WINNERS

Missouri: The Showed You State
Everybody who thought that, after Week 7 of the season, Missouri would be unbeaten and all alone in first place in the SEC East raise your hands.  Now, put ‘em down as all y’all are lying.  Yet that’s exactly where Gary Pinkel‘s Tigers find themselves Sunday morning, sporting a spotless 6-0 record overall and an East-best 2-0 mark in SEC play thanks to their win over Georgia coupled with Florida’s loss to LSU.  Yes, Mizzou’s win came at the expense of the injury-ravaged Bulldogs, but it was huge for the Tigers regardless of the circumstances and how it’s couched as the win over No. 7 UGA was the program’s first against a Top-10 team on the road since dropping No. 9 Mississippi State in October of 1981.  Let’s not pop any SEC East champagne for Mizzou quite yet, however.  The next two weeks — without starting quarterback James Franklin — the Tigers will host Florida and South Carolina in back-to-back games that could very well determine the division’s representative in the SEC championship game.  And, no, I never thought I’d be typing that sentence in relation to Mizzou, especially after a debut season in the SEC that saw the Tigers win just two conference games (Kentucky, Tennessee).

Super Mariota… again
I’m fully aware of the fact that the Heisman is not handed out in the middle of October, but, dayum.  In six games this season, Marcus Mariota has thrown for 17 touchdowns, ran for another eight… and has thrown zero interceptions in 165 attempts.  And, as if tossing down the stiff-armed gauntlet, Mariota went out Saturday and had his finest performance of the season, all things considered.  Against a Washington defense that came into the game with Oregon ranked No. 3 nationally in passing efficiency defense, Mariota carved said defense to the tune of 24-of-31 passing for 366 yards and three touchdowns.  For good measure, he added 88 yards rushing and another score.  Again, they don’t hand out the Heisman at this time of the year.  The award does, though, have a front-runner and Mariota is decidedly that.

Texas-sized Big 12 leader
It goes without saying that Texas’ 16-point beatdown of Oklahoma in the Red River Shootout qualifies as a stunner, what with the Longhorns having lost the last two rivalry games by a combined total of 80 points… and how they’ve been mired in mediocrity the past few years… and how Mack Brown‘s tenure is seemingly coming to a close.  It’s when you step back and look at the bigger picture, though, that you get the biggest jolt.  The Longhorns are currently one of three Big 12 teams with no losses in conference play, and are tied atop the standings at 3-0 with Texas Tech.  Baylor, which looked unstoppable against the lightweights on its schedule, was positively beatable on the road against Kansas State in its first real test of the season, although the Bears survived to remain that third unbeaten Big 12 team at 2-0.  Did the Longhorns save their season — and Brown’s job — Saturday?  It’s still too early to tell, especially with games against Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Baylor to close out the regular season still looming.  For now, though, the Golden Hat — and control of its own destiny in the Big 12’s race to the BCS — resides in Austin.

A Mannion’s man
Were it not for a three-point season-opening loss to Eastern Washington, Oregon State would very likely be a Twp-20 team at the moment.  And Sean Mannion might be getting the respect nationally he deserves.  Entering the game against Washington State Saturday night, the Beavers quarterback led the nation in passing yards per game (403.6) and passing touchdowns (21) through five games.  In his sixth game, Mannion did nothing but elevate his standing in both of those categories.  In helping OSU push its record to 5-1, Mannion passed for a season-high 493 yards and added four more touchdown passes as the Beavers cruised to a 52-24 win over Wazzu.  OSU, and thus Mannion, have yet to face a high-profile opponent, which has in large part led to the lack of recognition outside of Corvallis.  With games against Stanford (Oct. 26), Washington (Nov. 23) and the Civil War with Oregon (Nov. 29), Mannion will have plenty of opportunity to state his case nationally.  Provided he can rise to that level of competition, of course.

Brian FantanaBOB’s Big Ones
Bill O’Brien had already seen four missed field goals from the end of regulation through the first three overtimes against Michigan, including one off the foot of his own kicker.  Down by three and facing a fourth and one, O’Brien eschewed the field goal attempt that would’ve sent the game into a fifth overtime and instead grabbed his James Westfall and Doctor Kenneth Noisewater.  A Bill Belton three-yard run got the first down and, four plays later, Belton scooted across from two yards out to knock the Wolverines from the ranks of the unbeatens.  O’Brien should be applauded for both having the guts to make that call at that juncture and for his awareness of the energy that had been expended by his Nittany Lions creating a need to not extend the game.

Rebounding with a vengeance
Just 10 days ago, Travis Wilson had a six-pack of picks that was largely responsible for Utah’s seven-point loss to No. 11 UCLA.  Against No. 5 Stanford, the Utes quarterback went out and totally redeemed himself.  While he threw another interception, Wilson was otherwise outstanding, completing 23-of-34 passes for 234 yards and a pair of critical first-quarter touchdowns that put the unbeaten Cardinal on notice… and helped drop them from undefeated and controlling their own destiny to one of the myriad one-loss teams that will need help getting back in the national title hunt.  Redemption is an awe-inspiring thing, especially when it’s a college kid on the receiving end one game later against one of the best teams in the country.

Riding the Green Wave
Coming off a disastrous two-win 2012 season, there were some calling for the head of head coach Curtis Johnson after just one year at Tulane.  Nearly a year later, those same people are very likely singing Johnson’s praises.  You see, the Green Wave has won five of its first seven games this season, including a thrilling triple-overtime win over East Carolina Saturday evening.  It’s the first time since 2004 that Tulane has won more than four games in a single season, and the Green Wave still has five games remaining to win one game and become bowl eligible for the first time since 2002.  On top of all of that, Tulane is tied for the Conference USA West lead with Rice.  The individuals wanting Johnson gone last year may get their wish 12 months late; thanks to Tulane’s play, Johnson’s name will likely come up for various vacancies across the country in the coming months.

Army strongTerry Baggett , Donald Coleman
Yeah, I’ll go ahead and say it: Terry Baggett does more before 3 p.m. than most running backs do all season.  Or something like that.  In the Black Knights’ 50-25 win over Eastern Michigan, the junior rushed for 304 yards on just 18 carries and added four scores on the ground for good measure.  Baggett came into the matchup with 440 yards and two touchdowns in the first six games of the season.  The 304 yards are an academy record, part of which came on a 96-yard touchdown run.  In closing, go Baggett and go ‘Merica…

LOSERS

Nov. 7
That day on the football calendar was shaping up to be arguably the best and most important Thursday in college football history.  Oregon at Stanford and Oklahoma at Baylor had most prognosticators pointing to it during the preseason as the day where the chase for the BCS would really begin to take shape.  Now?  Not so much thanks to Oklahoma’s blowout loss to Texas and Stanford’s stunning loss on the road to Utah.  Those games will still be important, especially as it pertains to the respective conference races, but it has certainly lost a lot of luster as far as the national stage is concerned because of Saturday’s events.

Bears are human after all
Through the first four games of its season, Baylor was the darling of the national media.  Averaging a nation’s best 781 yards per game (Oregon was next at 630) and scoring 70-plus points a contest, the Bears were the shiny thing dangled in front of a giddy toddler.  Of course, those gaudy stats came against Wofford, Buffalo, Louisiana-Monroe and West Virginia.  In their first real test of the season against Kansas State?  The gaudy numbers dissipated, but the winning didn’t.  The Bears were held to season-lows in total offense (445 yards), rushing (114) and points (35), but still managed to go into always-tough Manhattan and escape back to Waco with a 10-point conference win over the Wildcats.  The Bears may have been exposed, and K-State may have provided a blueprint for future Big 12 opponents to at least slow down the high-powered attack, but they showed a resiliency they haven’t needed all season long.  And that might be more impressive than any of the video game-like numbers they had put up through the first one-third of the regular season.

South Carolina v ArkansasKarma indeed
Very shortly after Wisconsin’s controversial loss to Arizona State in mid-September, Jen Bielema, the wife of former UW and current Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema, tweeted “#karma” in the general direction of the Badgers and their fans.  While I’m certain it’s merely coincidence — or the “k” word — the Razorbacks, after winning their first three games pre-tweet, have now lost four straight since Mrs. Bielema typed out the five-letter word and sent it hurtling out into the Twittersphere.  Punctuating the losing streak was Saturday’s humbling 45-point loss to South Carolina, the third straight SEC loss for Bielema by a combined total of 77 points.  Strong with this one, the karma is.

The Lane Kiffin Error Era
If you wanted to sum up Lane Kiffin‘s time at USC, these five words would just about do it: “The players have hope now.”  Those were the words of USC athletic director Pat Haden, and they came shortly after the Trojans upended Arizona in the USC interim debut of Ed Orgeron.  It was far from pretty, but there was an exuberance, an excitement that had been lacking for years under Kiffin and, to be honest, under the weight of NCAA sanctions.  Pulling the plug on Kiffin’s tenure as head coach was seen as a necessary move.  And, as it turns out, it was a refreshing one for the entire program as well. “You should have been in the locker room before the game, I’ve never seen anything like it. Guys were having a blast,” Haden, again, said afterwards.  The win was one thing; the words coming from those in and around the football program were a damning indictment of everything that’s gone in in the Land of Troy the past three-plus seasons, even if it did humble the Arrogant One.

Airror Force
The Air Force football program has officially hit rock bottom.  Leading San Diego State by 14 with 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter Thursday night, the Falcons gave up 21 straight points in a 10-minute span to snatch defeat from the jaws of defeat.  The service academy is now 1-6, its worst start since going 1-6 to begin the 1993 season.  With an Oct. 26 game against Notre Dame on the horizon, the Falcons could very well be staring in the face of their worst start to a season since going 1-6-1 in 1980.

TOP 25 TOO-CLOSE-FOR-COMFORT
How ranked teams endured close shaves vs. unranked opponents

– No. 3 Clemson 24, Boston College 14: The Tigers needed 14 fourth-quarter points to avoid an infamous Clemsoning.  We’ll just chalk this up to looking ahead to the titanic matchup with Florida State next weekend and move on.

– No. 8 Louisville 24, Rutgers 10: Thanks to a pillowy soft schedule, the Cardinals need to take its opponents to the woodshed each and every time they step on the field.  That didn’t happen Thursday night, which has caused some to already write off the UofL’s BCS title game hopes.  While that’s debatable, the Cardinals will likely see themselves lose ground in the polls again this week.

Texas A&M v Mississippi– No. 9 Texas A&M 41, Ole Miss 38: In a wildly entertaining game, the Aggies needed a field goal as time expired to stay unbeaten on the road under Kevin Sumlin.  Of course, the win was due in large part to Johnny Football, who totaled 470 yards of total offense (346 passing, 124 rushing) in a performance that will keep him in the Heisman repeat mix.  That defense, though, is still an area of major concern and will likely bite the Aggies again at some point before the regular season ends.

– No. 15 Baylor 35, Kansas State 25: The Bears needed a real test and, after a hiccup up or two that nearly cost them an unblemished record.  the Waco Kids earned a passing grade.

– No. 20 Texas Tech 42, Iowa State 35:  The Red Raiders muddled through the first three quarters against the one-win Cyclones, tied at halftime and leading by just a touchdown entering the fourth.  Tech did, though, become the first bowl-eligible team in the Big 12 so they have that going for them, which is good.

– No. 23 Northern Illinois 27, Akron 20:  Hey, the one-win Zips nearly knocked off Michigan in the Big House earlier this year.  It happens.

– No. 24 Virginia Tech 19, Pittsburgh 9: I’m putting this game here solely to highlight the Hokies’ defense as Tech allowed the Panthers just 23 yards rushing on 26 carries.  All told, Pitt was only able to must 210 yards of offense against a team that’s quietly ripped off six straight wins since its 25-point loss to Alabama to open the season.

CFT TOP FIVE
A snapshot look at how my ballot would look Monday if I, ya know, had a real vote instead of a measly and meaningless preseason poll.

1. Alabama — After a scoreless first quarter against Kentucky, I very nearly dropped the Tide below Oregon.  Then the second quarter and on happened and my goodness did the Tide roll, putting up 668 yards of offense and 48 points in a 41-point throttling of the Wildcats. (Last week: No. 1)
Next up: vs. Arkansas

Oregon v Washington2. Oregon — Even with Alabama rolling (eventually) against a below-average Kentucky team, I was still (very) tempted to allow the Ducks to leapfrog the consensus No. 1 team in the country thanks to the virtuoso performance against arguably the best two-loss team in the country in Washington.  I couldn’t pull the trigger this week, but can’t promise a repeat if the Ducks continue mowing down the competition. (Last week: No. 2)
Next up: vs. Washington State

3. Clemson — Despite eking by a very average Boston College team in Clemson’s version of Death Valley, the Tigers are still a very good football team.  Get a huge win over you-know-how Saturday, and they’ll elbow themselves right into the Alabama-Oregon mix. (Last week: No. 3)
Next up: vs. No. 6 Florida State

4. Ohio State — The Buckeyes were on a bye, and may benefit somewhat in the polls thanks to Clemson’s sleepwalk against BC.  Northwestern getting throttled by Wisconsin and Michigan losing to Penn State, however, is very bad long-term for OSU. (Last week: No. 4)
Next up: vs. Iowa

5. Florida State — The Cardinal’s loss is the Seminoles’ gain.  A bye week for FSU allowed them to heal up for its Game of the Century against you-know-who Saturday. (Last week: unranked)
Next up: at No. 3 Clemson

(Dropped from the rankings: No. 5 Stanford)

HE SAID IT
“I do feel badly for Arkansas. That’s no fun getting your butt beat at home, homecoming and all that.” — Steve Spurrier, after South Carolina went into Fayetteville and spanked the Razorbacks 52-7.

HE SAID IT, THE SEQUEL
“We sit back and let y’all bash us and bash our coaches. … There comes a time when you put a chip on your shoulder.” — Texas quarterback Case McCoy.

HE SAID IT, THE THREEQUEL
“I’m looking forward to the next 30 minutes, because the first 30 minutes sucked.” — Pat Fitzgerald, after watching Northwestern fall behind Wisconsin 21-6 in the first half.  The next 30 minutes weren’t much better for the Wildcats as the final score ended up 35-6.

HE SAID IT, BONUS EDITION
“Yeah, playing your ass off.” — Texas co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Major Applewhite, when asked if an offensive identity had emerged for the Longhorns.

HE SAID IT, LES MILES EDITION
[See extended version below]

PHOTO OF THE WEEK
As a huge fan of NASCAR, count me among those who were absolutely thrilled with the reports that a future Tennessee-Virginia Tech game will be played at Bristol Motor Speedway.  Having been to that short track — the August night race should be on any sports fan’s bucket list — I can see exactly how and why both the track and the schools would want to play in the modern-day motorized Colosseum.  Have you wondered, though, what it will look like?  Thanks to @NeylandStadium, we have a little perspective:

Bristol Neyland

That, folks, is Neyland Stadium sitting inside the .533-mile Bristol Motor Speedway.  And that, folks, is freaking spectacular, even as I understand that some/most of the sight lines and vantage points won’t be optimal compared to playing in a stadium designed for football.

That said, I absolutely cannot wait to see — and possibly be a part of — that atmosphere.

Oh, and before you ask, no, ball carriers won’t be allowed to only make cuts to the left in that game.

SAY WHAT?
For the first time in the football program’s storied history, Alabama had a 300-yard passer (AJ McCarron‘s career-high 359 yards) and two 100-yard rushers (T.J. Yeldon, 16-124-2; Kenyan Drake, 14-106-2) in the same game.

TRUE STORY
From the Clemson Sports Information Department: Clemson’s defense held the nation’s leading rusher in Andre Williams to just 70 yards rushing and a 2.9 yards-per-carry average. He had entered the game averaging 153.6 rushing yards per game and 5.8 yards per carry.

FOR STATISTICAL PURPOSES ONLY

– Thanks to losses by Michigan, Oklahoma and Stanford, there are now 14 teams at the FBS level with no losses this season.  The ACC has the most unbeatens at this juncture with three (Clemson, Florida State and Miami), while the Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC have two apiece.  On the flip side, and with UMass dropping still winless Miami (Ohio), there are eight teams remaining who have yet to win a game in 2013.  Two of the Unfortunate Octet reside in the American Athletic Conference.

Boston College v Clemson– Clemson’s Tajh Boyd threw for 334 yards in the close win over Boston College to become the all-time leader in passing yards in Clemson history with 9,836 yards. He also moved in to fourth place in ACC history in the same category and into second place in carer 300-yard passing games (14).

Brett Hundley passed for 409 yards and three touchdowns to help unbeaten UCLA to a 37-10 win over Cal.

– Stanford wide receiver Ty Montgomery accounted for 296 all-purpose yards: 160 on kickoff returns, 131 receiving and five rushing.

– Jonathan Gray rushed for 123 yards and Malcolm Brown for 120 in Texas’ win over Oklahoma; it marked the first time UT has seen two players go over the century mark against OU.

– Washington’s Bishop Sankey, who entered the game fourth nationally in rushing yards per game at 146.4, rushed for 164 yards and two touchdowns in the loss to Oregon.

– Louisiana Monroe’s Isaiah Newsome became just the second player in Sun Belt Conference history to return two interceptions for touchdowns in the same game. The senior also broke the SBC record for interception return yardage in a single game with 146.

– Playing in place of the injured Baker MayfieldDavis Webb threw for 415 yards and three TDs in leading Texas Tech over Iowa State 42-35.

David Fales passed for 431 yards and three touchdowns in San Jose State’s 34-27 win over Colorado State.

– Coming off a concussion, Pittsburgh’s Tom Savage was sacked eight times in the loss to Virginia Tech.

– Utah’s win over No. 5 Stanford was the Utes’ first-ever over a team that entered the game ranked in the Top Five.  It was also the program’s first win over a team in the Top 10 since 1973.

– Florida extended its streak of holding SEC opponents under 20 points to 13 straight games against LSU, the longest in the conference.  Unfortunately, while the Gators held the Tigers to 17, they were held to six in the loss.

– Very enlightening stat from Jon Solomon of al.com: the past 14 games, Auburn has started five different quarterbacks.  Alabama has started three different quarterbacks the past 80 games.  Speaking of the Tigers…

– Auburn rolled up a school-record 712 yards of total offense in the Tigers’ 62-3 win over FCS-level Western Carolina.  Included in that total was 511 yards rushing on 43 carries, with nine different players credited with carries.

– Michigan State came into its game against Indiana as the No. 1 rush defense in the country, giving up an average of 51.2 yards per game; on the fourth play from scrimmage, the Hoosiers’ Tevin Coleman raced 64 yards right up the gut for a touchdown.  The rest of the game, however, the Spartans allowed just 28 yards on 26 carries in the 42-28 win.

– USF hasn’t scored an offensive touchdown the last two games… and have won both of those contests.  They are the first team ever at the FBS level to pull that trick in back-to-back weeks.

– Northern Illinois has now won 23 straight games at home, the longest such streak in the country.

– In a shout-out to the FCS, Fordham is 6-0 for the first time in a staggering 83 years.

IN CLOSING…
Les Miles
has, how shall we say it, a very unique and special relationship with the English language.  As the latest — and one of the best — example of that relationship, we leave you with the following transcript courtesy of CoachingSearch.com — the video’s HERE — in which Miles responds to a reporter stating that Florida was the hammer and LSU was the nail last season, with the roles being reversed this year.  Enjoy, and good night y’all:

“I’ve got a question for you. It was a 14-6 game. We played our asses off. How anybody could pick the hammer and the nail, when in fact, that hammer or nail, we catch a ball down there, we’re fixing to take the lead, and we turn it over. Explain to me how Kevin Minter, who set the damn near career tackle record in that game, how anybody could say hammer and nail?

“I can tell you right now, here’s what happens: Two very quality teams take the field and compete like a son of a bitch for victory. You know what? It’s not a hammer and a nail relationship. It’s an opportunity for an opponent to be equal and to raise their level of play in such a fashion that they win. That’s how this thing works. In fact, you respect the opponent. He’s not the hammer and he’s not the frickin’ nail, OK? He’s the opponent. You understand?

“I’m just letting you know, I resent that. I resent the fact that suddenly, we were nail, you got it? Honest to Pete. We were a pretty good team last year. I thought we played like a son of a bitch in that stadium. I’m just letting you know, I felt differently than the nail, so you know.”

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Unauthorized selfies lead to Todd Gurley being falsely accused of punching Georgia student

Todd Gurley

At 3:18 a.m. Sunday morning, a 20-year-old Georgia student stood in his apartment and told police he had been punched by Bulldogs running back Todd Gurley. Police, however, had reviewed footage from Bourbon Street Bar and Grill and told the student that was impossible, because the person who punched him was white.

Strange as that is, it is not the strangest part of this story.

According to the Athens Banner-Herald, the whole thing started when the student began taking unauthorized selfies with Gurley in the background. The student then began getting pushed by what Gurley described as “other guys”, and the student lost his hat in the process. Gurley reached down to retrieve it, and the student repaid that kindness by tossing a racial epithet his way.

It was then that the unidentified white male punched the student, who was then ejected from the bar.

The Banner-Herald‘s report then offers this glorious sentence: “The student admitted he’d had been drinking that night, but contended he was not drunk, according to police.”

After an interview with police, Gurley has officially been cleared of all wrongdoing.

“In consideration of all the information, to include statements and video recordings from the incident location, Todd Gurley’s involvement in this report is unfounded,” the detective wrote in a supplemental report. “Based also on the information … I was able to see clearly that Todd Gurley had no involvement in this case other than trying to give an individual his hat back.”

Earlier that day, Gurley had rushed 28 times for a career-high 208 yards and two touchdowns while also catching four passes for 30 yards in Georgia’s 35-32 win over Tennessee, so he presumably followed up his early-morning altercation with some well-earned sleep.

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Hey Kansas, Ed Orgeron wants to be your next head coach

Ed Orgeron

Kansas is without a head coach. College football’s favorite coaching free agent, former USC defensive line coach-turned-interim head coach Ed Orgeron, is without a job.

Let’s make it happen, Jayhawks.

“It’s a Power Five (job),” Orgeron told George Schroeder of USA Today at a speaking engagement Monday in Little Rock, Ark. “(Mark) Mangino went 12-1 and went to the Orange Bowl. It’s in a great conference. His staff proved that you can do it.”

When asked if he really wanted to be Kansas’ fourth head coach seven years, Orgeron was undeterred.

“It’s a challenging job,” he said. “But most jobs you get, there’s gonna be some things you’re gonna have to fix.”

The popular longtime assistant holds a 16-27 career record as a head coach – 10-25 at Ole Miss from 2005-07, and 6-2 on an interim basis at USC last season. He believes the second job is more indicative of his ability as a head coach than the first. “I believe I put my résumé out on the TV those last eight games,” Orgeron said. “They know who I am and what I’ve done.”

Orgeron credits his success at USC with loosening the atmosphere inside Heritage Hall following Lane Kiffin’s ouster, famously putting cookies on the training table and pitting position groups against each other in tug of war. “Play with energy. Have fun. Loosen up,” Oregon said.

Kansas still has eight games to play before it can officially bring in a new coach, but Orgeron has nothing but time on his hands to watch football. He’ll be watching, and he’ll be ready.

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Former UCF DC Paul Ferraro accuses George O’Leary of racist remarks in wrongful termination suit

St. Louis Rams 2009 Headshots

Paul Ferraro worked under George O’Leary as Central Florida’s defensive coordinator for approximately two months this winter. According to a lawsuit Ferraro filed on Friday, those had to be the worst two months of his three-decade career.

Hired in late December and gone by early March, Ferraro is accusing O’Leary of racist remarks and creating a work environment “permeated by bullying, threatening behavior, and repeated discriminatory epithets.” He accuses O’Leary of referring to the NFL as “one big ‘Ru-Ru’ tribe” and encouraging his assistants to “make sure (African-American players’) gums are blue, because they are bigger and stronger than (African-American players) with red gums,” according to a copy of the suit obtained by USA Today.

“No longer will I put up with your constant verbal abuse of both our coaching and support staff,” Ferraro emailed to O’Leary while copying the coaching staff. “Threatening coaches on a regular basis with their jobs and racial slurs mixed in to make a point is wrong.”

For its part, UCF is denying everything.

“UCF immediately investigated the allegations Mr. Ferraro made when he abruptly abandoned his job,” UCF vice president of communications and marketing Grant Heston emailed USA Today. “The university’s Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action office found the allegations to be untrue.

“None of the individuals alleged to have been the subject of, or to have overheard, these supposed statements corroborated Mr. Ferraro’s claims. In fact, until seeking compensation after abandoning his job, it does not appear he ever discussed this with anyone at UCF.”

Translation: “This dude is making the entire thing up.”

Of course, the basis for all of this is money. The school claims Ferraro resigned, and Ferraro claims he was fired without cause. He thinks he is owed $15,000 in salary on the two-year, $440,000 contract he signed. UCF maintains it has paid Ferraro what he is owed.

Ferraro was hired away from Maine in late December, just days before UCF’s win over Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl, and left the staff on March 5. He returned to the Maine staff as defensive coordinator on March 29.

Ferraro claims he because he “wanted to return to work in an environment free from O’Leary’s bullish and discriminatory tactics and that he did not and was not resigning.”

And around and around we go.

This is the type of suit that had better be true, otherwise Ferraro has damned his former boss to a lifetime of search returns pairing “O’Leary” with “racist”, all in the name of a money grab. In the always-online culture we live in, that’s (allegedly) one of the sorriest stunts a person can pull.

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Kentucky suspends four players for airsoft gun incident, police action pending

Ohio v Kentucky

Well, this got out of hand.

Kentucky has suspended four freshmen – wide receiver Dorian Baker, running back Stanley “Boom” Williams, quarterback Drew Barker, and defensive end Tymere Dubose – for a Sunday evening airsoft pellet gun incident that ended with Lexington police shutting down campus.

“Proper conduct is emphasized as a core value of our program,” head coach Mark Stoops said in a statement. “If we have a situation in which someone who does not act according to our standards, we hold him accountable.”

This story doesn’t end there, though. The chief of the University of Kentucky police department will meet with the Fayette County Attorney’s office Tuesday to “determine what next steps need to be taken” according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Police were called around 9:30 Sunday night to a residence complex on the south end of campus, near the football facilities, after fielding calls about possible shots being fired. UK and Lexington police searched the area for two hours and recovered three airsoft guns.

“We absolutely respect being part of a wonderful campus community,” added AD Mitch Barnhart. “It disappoints us when one of our student-athletes does not live up to our expectations. We respect the process of the University and are working hand-in-hand with the campus community on this issue.”

Williams has produced 174 yards and two touchdowns on 21 touches from scrimmage, and Baker has collected 11 receptions for 122 yards and a touchdown. Barker and Dubose are expected to redshirt.

All four will miss Kentucky’s date with South Carolina on Saturday. With the amount of eye rolling and hand wringing a suspension like this is sure to inspire, you half expect Saturday’s official roster to list these four as “Suspended: SMH.”

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John Harbaugh speaks, wants Brady Hoke to remain Michigan’s head coach

John Harbaugh

Straight from the desk of the “What would you expect him to say?” department, active Baltimore Ravens coach and Michigan alum John Harbaugh denied having any interest held by active Michigan head coach Brady Hoke. A report emerged Monday morning saying the same thing, but now we have the quote straight from the horse’s mouth.

Harbaugh told the Baltimore Sun that he “really didn’t know why” speculation linked he and his brother Jim to the job, which, c’mon coach, you can’t play that dumb. But he did speak for his brother in stating that they both hoped Hoke turned things around and finished the year successfully.

“Brady Hoke is a guy that we all believe in. The Harbaughs believe in Brady Hoke. He’s a great coach. He believes in Michigan. I believe in what they’re doing there. I think they’re going to get it turned around,” he told the paper. “The team should be galvanized right now. They should be like lions. I’m interested in Brady Hoke being the coach at Michigan for a long time coming.”

Coaches aren’t fond of displaying interest in other coaches’ jobs, especially before the calendar even hits October, and especially when that coach is speaking about a school where his father worked, his brother played, and he spent his high school years going to school nearby. Add in the fact that Harbaugh and Hoke worked together at Western Michigan from 1984-86 and describe themselves as friends and there was no way Harbaugh was going to provide anything other than a flat refusal.

And then, of course, there is the likely option that Harbaugh is telling the unvarnished truth. He’s entrenched into a job that pays him $6.5 million through 2017, is fresh off a recent Super Bowl victory, and is off to a 3-1 start this season. He has plenty of reasons to stay right where he is and watch the maize and blue bonfire that is the current state of Michigan football from afar.

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Yale receives national honor for overtime defeat of Army

The best game you didn’t see on Saturday took place in New Haven, Conn.

Yale defeated Army, 49-43 in overtime, at the Yale Bowl, giving the Bulldogs a 2-0 start to the season and their first victory over the Black Knights since 1955. With the win, Yale was honored as the Football Writers Association of America’s “National Team of the Week” award on Monday.

“For the second week in a row, it wasn’t pretty, but the perseverance of these guys came through,” said Yale head coach Tony Reno. “We continue to follow the process, taking it one play at a time. This is an incredible group of young men that has limitless potential.”

The Bulldogs and Black Knights combined for 1,222 yards of total offense and 7.18 yards per play on  170 total snaps. Quarterbacks Angel Santiago (6-of-8 passing for 117 yards, eight rushes for 88 yards and two touchdowns) and A.J. Schurr (6-of-12 passing for 94 yards and a score, 15 rushes for 135 yards and another touchdown) paved the way for Army, while Yale quarterback Morgan Roberts threw for 290 yards and a touchdown with an interception while adding 67 yards and a touchdown on the ground, and running back Tyler Varga rushed 28 times for 185 yards and a school-record-tying five touchdowns.

Army took a 28-14 lead just 88 seconds into the second half after Jeremy Timpf returned an interception 45 yards for a touchdown, but the Bulldogs battled back to tie the game at 36-36 and again at 43-43 on Varga’s third and fourth scoring dashes.

After a missed field goal in the top of the first overtime by Army kicker Daniel Grochowski, Varga’s fifth touchdown, a three-yard plunge, gave Yale the win – and the Ivy League’s first win over an FBS opponent since Penn topped Navy 30-26 in 1986.

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Jimbo Fisher: FSU did not fake injuries vs. NC State

Jimbo Fisher, Dave Doeren

Florida State was given a good scare by North Carolina on Saturday, but the Seminoles managed to respond and get out of town with another victory to keep their unbeaten streak alive. North Carolina State head coach Seminoles managed to respond and get out of town with another victory to keep their unbeaten streak alive. North Carolina State head coach Dave Doeren accused Florida State of faking injuries in Saturday’s game in Raleigh.

“The tempo we had (in the first quarter) was working until all the crazy fall down things were going on and the clock kept stopping,” Doeren said, according to The Rocky Mountain Telegram. “You know the refs can’t do anything about that, but it’s horrible the way the tempo gets slow downed by these injuries. We went fast in the first-quarter, I guess there were no fake injuries.”

On Monday, Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher fired back.

“I accuse him of not knowing what he’s talking about,” Fisher said Monday, according to The Orlando Sentinel. “We did not fake injuries, no one fakes injuries. We’ll coach Florida State, he can coach North Carolina State.”

NC State ran 87 plays (50 pass plays, 37 rushing attempts) against Florida State and controlled the football for nearly 32 and a half minutes. Florida State ran 71 plays on offense.

The topic of teams faking injuries is nothing new in college football, but it is not often you see one of the top-ranked teams in the country be on the receiving end of such criticism. Doeren is probably misguided in thinking Florida State felt a need to stoop to that level, given the overall athleticism of the roster on both sides of the football.

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Report: Oklahoma transfer QB Mayfield’s appeal denied

Baker Mayfield

Quarterback Baker Mayfield will not play this season for Oklahoma after having an appeal for immediate eligibility denied. According to a report by The Oklahoman, the Texas Tech transfer had his appeal denied by the NCAA and Big 12.

Per the report by The Oklahoman, Big 12 transfer rules for players moving from one Big 12 school to the other will actually cost Mayfield a year of eligibility despite his status as a walk-on player at both Texas Tech and Oklahoma. Mayfield transferred from Texas Tech after being informed by head coach Kliff Kingsbury the Red Raiders would be going in a different direction at quarterback this fall.

There was some confusion last week regarding Mayfield’s transfer status. One report suggested Mayfield’s appeal had been approved, which would make him eligible to play for Oklahoma this season (assuming there was a need; Trevor Knight is clearly the team’s quarterback in Norman).Trevor Knight is clearly the team’s quarterback in Norman). There was also talk of Mayfield being able to retain a year of eligibility, but the latest now seems to suggest those talks did not pan out as Oklahoma and Mayfield would have hoped.

This latest news is adding more fuel to the fire regarding the transfer rules. Should schools be allowed to prevent a player from moving to another school, regardless of conference affiliation? Should conferences be allowed to force a player to lose a year of eligibility under these situations?

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LSU names Brandon Harris starting QB vs. Auburn

New Mexico State v LSU

In a blowout win against New Mexico State, LSU quarterback Brandon Harris appeared to show some promise as LSU’s quarterback. He will be put to the test this weekend in a night game against the defending SEC champions. LSU head coach Les Miles named Harris LSU’s starting quarterback for this weekend’s road game at Auburn, a primetime match-up in the vaunted SEC West.

Harris completed 11 of 14 pass attempts for 178 yards and three touchdowns in LSU’s 63-7 against New Mexico State. He also rushed for 36 yards and two more touchdowns. This performance came a week after coming in against Mississippi State and generating some offense, completing six of nine pass attempts for 140 yards and two touchdowns. Harris may have entered the game too late for LSU to avoid a home upset by the visiting Bulldogs, but Miles will hope having Harris on the field from the start in another crucial SEC West battle will give his team the bets chance to win.

Anthony Jennings started the season for LSU and he has struggled along the way to find any consistency. Against Wisconsin in week one, Jennings was 9-of-21 for 239 yards and two touchdowns. Against Mississippi State, Jennings was 13-of-26 for 157 yards without a touchdown. He will now take on a back-up role for the Tigers.

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USF adds 3 games with Texas and BYU home-and-home

South Florida v Wisconsin Getty Images

The USF Bulls have been busy putting together some future opponents. USF has added a three-game series with Texas and a home-and-home series with BYU to fill some dates between 2019 and 2024.

As originally reported by Brett McMuprhy of ESPN, via Twitter, USF and BYU will play their home-and-home series in 2021 and 2022, although which school hosts which year was not confirmed. As of now, BYU already has two home games scheduled in 2021, against Arizona State and Boise State. The Cougars are set to visit USC as well. BYU only has two games scheduled for 2022, with road games at Boise State and Stanford.

USF will make two trips to Texas as part of the three-game package deal. The Bulls will visit Austin in 2019 and 2024. Texas will make the trip to Tampa in 2022. This will mark the first games between the two schools, unless they happen to collide in a postseason game between now and 2019. Texas has never played a game in Tampa. The last time the Longhorns played a game in the state of Florida was in 2007, a regular season game at UCF.

Texas is 4-2 all-time in games played in Florida. The only regular season loss came in a 1973 meeting at Miami, but the Longhorns also left Florida with a loss in the 1974 Gator Bowl (to Auburn). Two of the wins came in the Orange Bowl, in 1965 against Alabama and in 1949, against Georgia.

This game offers both schools a chance to expand on the recruiting trail. USF obviously should benefit from being in the state of Florida, but another reason to make a connection in Texas (along with conference rivals in Houston and SMU) is always a good thing. Texas also gets a chance to make a pitch to Florida prospects. Both states are rich with football talent, and both programs are in need of all the talent they can find.

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Brady Hoke goes on the defensive in Monday presser

Brady Hoke

Michigan held its regularly scheduled weekly press conference Monday, and it saw head coach Brady Hoke on defense from the start. Like much of Michigan’s performance on the field, Hoke’s defense was shaky.

Facing multiple questions regarding the handling of quarterback Shane Morris during Saturday’s loss to Minnesota, Hoke constantly referred directions to a statement that will be presented by the Michigan medical staff later on. As far as Hoke was concerned, Morris suffered a high ankle sprain and was not ruled out by his medical staff.

“I don’t make decisions on who does or doesn’t play when there are injuries,” Hoke said. Just like that, Hoke tried to deflect any negative reaction to the handling of Morris off on the medical staff at Michigan.

On multiple occasions, Hoke said he trusted his medical staff and claimed they had never let him down at any point the last three years. Hoke also stood firm on the ankle sprain injury to Morris being the only reason he was taken out. Asked about video showing Morris wobbly on the field, Hoke said it was his quarterback’s ankle that was giving out on him and not a head trauma concern.

According to Hoke, Morris waving off trainers on the field “tells you something,” about Morris and his mentality. Hoke took that motion as a sign Morris was able top play through pain. The video tends to speak volumes and paint a different picture, but Hoke stood firm on the ankle injury. Hoke even said Morris would have practiced last night if not for the ankle injury.

Asked if he had spoken about his job performance or the Morris injury with Michigan Athletics Director Dave Brandon, Hoke said “No.” Hoke was also asked if he would wear a headset moving forward. “No,” was his response.

Hoke attempted to shift the focus to Michigan’s next opponent, Rutgers, but each question posed to him during the Monday press conference was related to his handling of the team’s injuries, specifically Morris.

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Report connects Mack Brown to SMU opening

Mack Brown

SMU has a coaching vacancy. Mack Brown is a former college football coach. Could the two be… nah. Wait, really?

June Jones resigned as head coach at SMU just weeks into the season, and the search for a new head coach with the ability to build a program is on for the Mustangs. Among the potential names on the list for SMU could possibly be the former head coach of the Texas Longhorns, Brown. Bruce Feldman of FOXSports.com reports “some well-connected SMU brass are intrigued” about the possibility of luring Brown back to the sidelines.

Of course they would be intrigued about the possibility. Brown brings name recognition to the program and a certain level of respectability to go with it. Brown’s tenure at Texas may have ended on a downslope, but there is nowhere to go but up for the SMU program right now. Brown did not appear to want to resign from coaching at Texas but he eventually stepped aside in Austin to make way for a new leader (which turned out to be Charlie Strong). Brown, now a studio analyst for ESPN, may have some coaching left in him at the age of 63, but would he really be the right candidate for SMU?

Brown’s age likely plays against him for what SMU needs. SMU is in need of a younger coach with a vision to build a program from the ground up. For Brown, the idea of taking on a complete project from the start at his age may not be the most desirable. Larry Coker took on a building project at UTSA at a similar age, so it is not unprecedented. Coker’s Roadrunners have come along nicely as a brand new football program. SMU is far from a brand new program, but it is locked at the bottom of the FBS college football world.

SMU could do worse than Brown, but this seems like more of a hypothetical discussion more than one that will become a reality for SMU.

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Has Ole Miss been better than Alabama? Cody Prewitt thinks so

Boise State v Mississippi Getty Images

Ole Miss is gearing up for one of the biggest game sin the grove in a long time. Alabama, now the top-ranked team in the coaches poll, is heading to town this weekend for one of the SEC West triple-threat matches this weekend. The Rebels have been a fascinating program to watch build and grow under the leadership of head coach Hugh Freeze, but the Rebels are still a program looking for a signature win. It could come this weekend with a win over Alabama. Ole Miss defensive back Cody Prewitt is nothing short of confident in his team’s chances against Alabama. In fact, he thinks Ole Miss has already put together a better season than the Crimson Tide.

“We understand that we haven’t played a team that’s going to be as good as Bama,” Prewitt said, according to FOX Sports. “But we don’t really think Bama is as good as they have been. And we’re better than we have been. We’re looking forward to getting to the game plan and really nailing down all the tweaks and stuff that we’re going to have to put into Bama.”

To recap, Alabama started the year with a victory in Atlanta over a West Virginia team that may be heading to a bowl game this season. That was followed by home wins over Southern Mississippi and Florida Atlantic. The Crimson Tide also opened SEC play with a home win over Florida. Ole Miss also opened the season with a win in Atlanta, over Boise State. The Rebels then opened SEC play with a 41-3 win at Vanderbilt and home wins against Louisiana-Lafayette and Memphis. The Rebels have allowed just 8.5 points per game.

Alabama vs. Ole Miss is just one part of a terrific Saturday line-up of SEC West battles.  No. 5 Auburn is hosting No. 15 LSU and No. 12 Mississippi State is hosting No. 6 Texas A&M. This weekend could easily separate the contenders from the pretenders. Let the war of words begin.

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Report: Ravens coach John Harbaugh not interested in Michigan job

John Harbaugh AP

Brady Hoke, as of this moment, is still Michigan’s coach. The Shane Morris fiasco and a season quickly becoming an embarrassing quagmire could change that at some point in the next few months.

Barring some out-of-nowhere turnaround, Michigan probably will be looking for a new coach after the season. San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh has had his name thrown around in rumors already, but NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported Sunday Michigan may actually be more interested in the other Harbaugh brother.

The Baltimore Sun, though, reported Monday John Harbaugh isn’t expected to go after the Michigan job. For one, Harbaugh is good friends with Hoke and two, the Sun reports he’s content in Baltimore despite some reported friction with the organization over the handling of Ray Rice.

Either Harbaugh would be a dream hire for Michigan, as grew up in Ann Arbor and Jim was a quarterback for the Wolverines from 1983-1986. But since Hoke hasn’t been fired yet, it’s technically not a vacant position — so maybe things will change when the position does come open.

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Brady Hoke insists ‘we would never put (in) a QB who was hurt’

Brady Hoke AP

Without mentioning anything about concussion protocol, Michigan coach Brady Hoke continued to play defense about leaving quarterback Shane Morris in on Saturday despite what appeared to not only a leg injury, but a blow to the head as well.

In a Q&A with Michigan’s official website, Hoke said:

Well, number one, we would never put a quarterback who was hurt (in there). That would never happen. As far as where we’re at with it, we usually don’t talk about injuries and stay away from them. But this has kind of become an issue to some degree, and Shane Morris has got a leg injury, and that’s why we pulled him from the game. We’ll see where he’s at.

On the down where Devin’s helmet came off, there was a discussion about the timeout with the referee that I wanted to take to buy him back into the game. When I talked to the referee — because he kind of came to the sideline — and he said, ‘No.’ So, a couple seconds later the line judge comes up and says, ‘Now, you can buy a timeout.’ But by that time, Shane was already back in the football game.

Of course, this being a Q&A with the official Michigan website, there was no follow-up question about Morris possibly being concussed.

Calls for Hoke to be fired over his handling of the situation on Saturday — during a game Michigan embarrassingly lost — have grown over the last few days. USA Today’s George Schroeder has a good take on the situation, while our own Kevin McGuire wrote Hoke needs to take responsibility for the Morris fiasco.

More than likely, Hoke will eventually get fired by Michigan. It’s just a matter of when.

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